Abbey club members going from strength to strength

Abbey Gymnastics Club member Hannah Morrison in action. INLT 21-902-CON
Abbey Gymnastics Club member Hannah Morrison in action. INLT 21-902-CON

May was a busy month for members of Abbey Gymnastics. Following on from the club’s recent successes at the British Gymnastics Awards, its members have competed at both national and international competitions over recent weeks.

Hannah Morrison (12) and Bailée Hunsdale (11) represented Northern Ireland at the International Celtic Cup Gymnastics Championships in the Isle of Man from May 10 to 12 in the Minor Competition (under 13) against gymnasts from from all over the United Kingdomne and the Republic of Ireland.

Hannah was excited to be able to gain a place for the second year “I am so pleased, the hard work is worth it,” she said. Bailee, who was making her debut at the event, added: “I have worked very hard in gym and had a great competition.”

Head Coach at Abbey, and Northern Ireland team coach Alison McMullan is delighted with the girl’s progress. “Hannah has had experience and success representing her country previously. She has continued to work hard and proven she could be a potential World Class competitor having recently been selected for the Olympic Training squad for Rio 2016.

“This was Bailée’s first experience at this level of competition. I am very pleased with her performances, she made her club and country proud and continues to progress in training now focused on upcoming events.

“We are proud, as a club to have previously produced talent to World Class standard and this has inspired the younger generation to work hard to achieve their goals.”

The girls are following in the footsteps of Abbey gymnast Sophie McCoo, who recently retired from competitive gymnastics. Sophie, now a young leader at the centre, competed for Northern Ireland at the Celtic Cup in 2010 then again as a senior guest in 2012. She represented Ireland at the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Europeans.

Currently Gymnast of the Year she has set a precedent and continues to encourage and inspire the younger athletes. Without the financial support from Newtownabbey Borough Council, training for such events would have proven difficult. Sophie and Alison McMullan would like to take this opportunity to thank the council for this support.

On May 18 and 19, four Abbey Gymnasts represented the Northern Region at the Irish National Apparatus finals at Limerick University.

Abbie O’Neill and Rachel Campbell competed in the Level 5 Under-11 age group and although neither made it to the podium this time, individual apparatus scores and performances were a great improvement on past events. Their next competitive event is the Tony Byrne Cup on June 9 in Lisburn.

Bailée Hunsdale competed in the FIG Open Age Group up against experienced gymnasts up to six years her senior. Uneven Bars was her most successful event taking a clean routine achieving the silver medal.

Hannah Morrison was the most successful gymnast in the FIG Minor age group having made it to the podium on all four apparatus. Her biggest success came on the vault. She is now the current Irish National Champion on vault and also achieved second place on floor, third place on beam and third place on bars.

Abbey Gymnastics CIC currently has over 300 members and have just commenced a new term of classes. Anyone interested in trying the sport are welcome to contact Alison on 028 90234244 / 07899783990, or email: